1947 – 70 YEARS AGO
Francis Linnen was selected by Pittston City Council to succeed George J. Turner as chief of police of Pittston. Linnen, a lifelong resident of Pittston, joined the Pittston police force in 1938 and served until 1943 when he entered the armed services. He trained at Camp Wheeler, GA, and was assigned to the Pacific Theatre as a rifleman with the 19th Infantry Regiment of the 24 Infantry Division. Linnen received the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, The Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon with three battle stars, The Philippine Liberation with three battle stars and the arrowhead for the Philippine Invasion.
1949 – 68 YEARS AGO
The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “Do you think that women drivers are a menace on the highways?” Della Denesco, of Yatesville, answered, “Yes, I think they are. They take a lot for granted such as always taking the right of way.” Carmen Colarlusso, of Pittston, added, “No, I don’t think that all women drivers are menaces; some women are as good as men. But once in a while there is one who is careless.” Sam Lubrutto, of Pittston, stated, “I think they are. They get confused or nervous and then don’t know what to do. Some women are good drivers, even good enough to drive those big coal trucks.”
O. McGraw Company in Pittston advertised that one could purchase a brand new 1950, 5-passenger Streamliner Pontiac for $1,758. 1950 Pontiac Streamliner Deluxe Fastbacks were a popular model and would be until 1953. Styles included wide access doors with floor matting to avoid “heel catching” and wide horizon windshield with slim corner posts for improved viabilit. The bright red Chiefton emblem badge lit up when the headlights were turned on.
1950 – 67 YEARS AGO
Corporal Eugene Donnelly, of the Browntown section of Pittston, was reported missing in action in Korea. Donnelly was attached to the Eighth Regiment of the First Cavalry Division. He enlisted in the Army in 1948. According to the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, more than 7,800 Americans remained unaccounted for from the Korean War. During Operation Glory in 1954, North Korea returned the remains of more than 3,000 Americans. U.S. Graves Registration teams recovered remains from South Korean battlefields. The U.S. identified thousands of these remains. In 1956, a total of 848 that could not be identified were buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the Punchbowl. Others were added later as unknowns. One of the unknowns was interred in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. The Army Graves Registrations teams searched the battlefields in the Republic of Korea from 1951 to 1956. From 1990 to 1994, North Korea exhumed and returned 208 boxes of remains. However, DOD scientists estimate that as many as 400 individuals could be represented in these 208 boxes.
1957 – 60 YEARS AGO
Efforts to free two Avoca men trapped in what was called a “bootleg coal mine on a nearby hillside,” resulted in one man being rescued while another remained trapped for several more hours as rescuers feverishly tried to reach him. Joseph Tigue and Robert Hughes, workers at the mine, managed to rescue one of the slide victims, Thomas Coleman, but unfortunately, Louis Doran was almost completely buried and, due to the massive amount of debris and rock, his rescue was extremely dangerous and nearly impossible. Joining in the rescue effort were Thomas Boylan, William O’Hop, Robert Barry, John Timlin, Frank Agar, Paul Koltenski, James Dwyer, Thomas Brunton, William Naughton, Vincent Calvey, William Meehan, John Visniskie, Thomas Frew, Thomas Richens, Joseph Feeney, James Lester, Carmine Lizzio and Martin Horan. After many hours of tedious debris removal, Doran was freed and transported to Taylor Hospital where he, according to the account, later died of shock.
1963 – 54 YEARS AGO
John B. Burns, of Pittston, an Army sergeant, attached to the Medical Corp near the end of World War II, unexpectedly had to use his expertise as a funeral director in preparing the body of General George S. Patton for burial. While on a hunting trip near Mannheim, Germany, General Patton died when his car was involved in a collision with a truck. Burns was summoned by top brass to handle all arrangements of burial. Burns appeared in various newsreels and a biographical documentary of Patton’s life.
1964 – 53 YEARS AGO
“We caught them before the beer got warm.” said one Pittston City police officer, regarding the apprehension of three men suspected of beer theft from a Falcone Beverage truck. After receiving a tip about the possible culprits, police raided the home of one suspect that quickly led to the arrest of the other two men. In all, 24 cases of beer and a full quarter keg of beer were taken. Only eight cases and the keg were retrieved.
Martin Kolvek, of Duryea, wasn’t going to let a debilitating disease get the better of him. Kolvek, a retired mineworker, had been a patient of Valley Crest Nursing Home for six months, receiving therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, a condition which left him totally bedridden. Upon his release, he was again able to ambulate, but his continued recovery would require further therapy. Kolvek set about constructing his own equipment. Using material donations from neighbors and friends, he constructed parallel bars, a stationary bicycle, and a handle-turning device to exercise his arms. Kolvek’s story was highlighted in an issue of “Challenge,” a magazine published in connection with the State Department of Welfare.
Roy Stauffer Inc. featured the anticipated “Most Popular Cars in America,” the ’65 Chevrolet Impala, Chevelle Malibu, Chevy II Nova, and the Corvair Corsa.
1973 – 44 YEARS AGO
Congressman Dan Flood used his extensive influence to locate a solid brass bell from an abandoned 1900 vintage New York Central Steam locomotive in a Chicago Scrap Yard to fulfill a request from Pittston Area faculty members Angelo Marcino, Vince Washak and Mary Frances Loftus. The bell was transported to a rail yard in Avoca where it was refurbished and then donated by the congressman to Pittston Area faculty members, students and football team.
1993 – 24 YEARS AGO
Airman Bobbie J. Wrobleski graduated from Air Force basic training at Lackland Air Force Base.
The Pittston Area Key Club was featured in the “Keynoter,” a monthly magazine published by Key Club International. The club cited officers Lynn Benfante, Christina Calabrese, Mia Scarantino, and Russell D’Elia for their successful planning of a Special Olympics track and field event that was held at the Pittston Area High School.
Marcario’s Lincoln Inn, Dupont was celebrating its 57th year in business. Philomena Rossi opened up her living room and kitchen to customers in 1936; she passed the business on to her daughter Tina Marcario and husband Dominick in 1963.
This day in history
1789 — George Washington proclaims this a National Thanksgiving Day in honor of the new Constitution. This date was later used to set the date for Thanksgiving.
1950 — North Korean and Chinese troops halt a UN offensive.
1957 — President Dwight Eisenhower suffers a minor stroke.
1975 — Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme is found guilty of an attempt on President Gerald Ford’s life.
1983 — At London’s Heathrow Airport, almost 6,800 gold bars worth nearly £26 million are stolen from a Brinks-MAT vault.
2000 — Republican candidate George W. Bush is certified the winner of Florida’s electoral votes, giving him enough electoral votes to defeat Democrat Al Gore Jr. for the US presidency, despite losing the popular vote.
Born on this day
1933 — Robert Goulet, singer, actor.
1938 — Rich Little, comedian, actor; noted for his ability to impersonate famous personalities.
1939 — Tina Turner, singer, dancer, actress (“What’s Love Got to Do with It”).
1954 — Velupillai Prabhakaran, founder and leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a militant organization that sought to create an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka.
1956 — Dale Jarrett, NASCAR driver; won the 1999 Winston Cup Series championship.